The Case of the Temperamental Talent

4607 words 19 pages
The Case of the
Temperamental Talent by Lawrence R. Rothstein
Harvard Business Review
No. 92608
Harvard Business Review
NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 1992
Reprint Number
CHARLES HANDY BALANCING CORPORATE POWER:
A NEW FEDERALIST PAPER
92604
JERROLD T. LUNDQUIST SHRINKING FAST AND SMART IN THE
DEFENSE INDUSTRY
92606
NANCY A. NICHOLS PROFITS WITH A PURPOSE:
AN INTERVIEW WITH TOM CHAPMAN
92602
RAVI VENKATESAN STRATEGIC SOURC1NG:
TO MAKE OR NOT TO MAKE
92610
AMAR BHIDE BOOTSTRAP FINANCE:
THE ART OF START-UPS
92601
WILLIAM G. PAGONIS THE WORK OF THE LEADER 92607
LAWRENCE R. ROTHSTEIN
HBR CASE STUDY
THE CASE OF THE TEMPERAMENTAL TALENT 92608
DAVID H. FREEDMAN
IN QUESTION
IS MANAGEMENT STILL A SCIENCE? 92603
KEN VEIT
FIRST PERSON
THE RELUCTANT ENTREPRENEUR
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We can't cater to his ego and let the company keep on sliding just because he doesn't like the size of his new s a n d b o x . I think jjrou ought to fire him. Things have been building toward this for a long time, but after yesterday's outburst, you've got a clear-cut reason. We'd get rid ot a major obstacle and send a message to some of the other malcontents that are messing up the program."
"I don't have to tell._ypu.that if we fire Ken Vaughn we're in deep trouble," Bob said. "Nobody designs like Ken and his crew. We need new products as much as we need anything.
If we don't have them, we'll lose market share faster than you can change your shoes. And as soon as the word is out that Ken has been fired, headhunters will swarm all over him. He'll go to a competitor, and they'll blow us out of the water.
And it wouldn't be just Ken.
He'll take the whole design team with him."
Morns shook his head. " Y o u ' v e said it yourself. Bob: the reorganization is our only chance or being here five years from now. Ken is either on the bus or off the bus. From where
I sit, he's not onlv off the bus, he's slashing our damn tires." Then
Morris added emphatically, "Fire him. Bob."
Bob looked over at Harold Bass.
"What do you think, Harold-"
" T h i s has to he confidential. I wouldn't usually talk about such personal matters, but there's a lot at stake here - for Ken as well as the company." He turned to Morris.
"Bob sent Ken down to

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